If no one applauds me but God, I’m a success. Whose applause am I living for? If you’re going to live faithfully and effectively for God and help to lead the Church in this world, you must make sure that you’re playing to the right audience.
Too often we are caught in the “performance trap.” We are trying to live up to other people’s expectations. Sometimes these people are part of the church we are in, part of the family we belong to, part of the small group that we attend. Othertimes they are no longer even in the land of the living having died years before. But, we are living our lives attempting to please or honor them in some way – measuring up to their expectations and demands. If we are doing this we are not going to be pleasing God because, as Paul makes clear, the choice is to please God or to please man – you can’t do both.
So, a decision needs to be made. That you will live your life before an audience of One – God, Himself. He is the One we are to please and to honor in our life – by our words, deeds, and attitude. It is His will that is important – not what we want or what others want of us. We are to seek His will and then live in the center of that revealed will for our lives even if it means disappointing others in some way. Rather disappoint others and please God than the other way around.
The Bible has a number of definitions for sin. One of them, found in the book of Romans, states: “Whatever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23b) So, if I am doing things because others expect me to – for me that is a sin. If I am doing something because it will please others – for me that is sin. If I am doing something out of fear – sin. If I am doing something out of anxiety and worry – sin. I must be doing what I do because I am “doing all things as unto the Lord” (even your everyday job where you make an income to live) and because I am wanting to please Him first and foremost.
This, of course, does not go over well in the world in which we live where demands are constantly being made regarding how we use our time, what we are involved in, what we are doing … But, once established as the base upon which we are building our lives and managing our time – it allows us to say “yes” and “no” to events, activities and demands upon our time based on God’s will and His plans and His purpose and not based on what others want, need, or would like from us. It frees us to make quality decisions as to what we are involved in and what we are not involved in based on more than how we are feeling or how persausive someone is.
So, I play to an audience of One. And, although not easy most of the time, it is necessary if I ever hope to fulfill God’s plans and purpose for my life and hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”